According to John Lyons' account of modality (the general principles of which we will outline in the first part of this essay), "the sincerity conditions that are asserted or questioned in the performance of indirect illocutionary acts all have to do with the knowledge, beliefs, will and abilities of the participants; and these ... are the factors which are involved in epistemic and deontic modality" (Lyons 1977, 786). For example, in English, as well as in French, thereare fixed idioms such as "Will you ..., "Can you ...," "Is it possible for you to ...," "I'd like you to ...," that accompany orders or wishes. This can be explained by the intuitive link between, on the one hand, notions of necessity and obligation that are relevant to the semantic analysis of sentences that contain the verbal auxiliary "should" and, on the other hand, notions of possibility and of permission relevant to the semantic analysis of sentences containing the auxiliary "may" (Lyons 1977,791). We can say, following Lyons (1977, 787), that the epistemic and deontic modalities are two forms of "traditional modal logic" (that is to say of necessity and possibility). When analyzing epistemic modality for example, we must remember the needs, the expectations and the hopes of the speaker as well as the process of deduction itself (see Lyons 1977, 792).
Onyeoriri, Gloria Nne
"Epistemic and Deontic Modalities in Aminata Sow Fall's L'Ex-Pere de la Nation,"
Contributions in Black Studies:
Vol. 9, Article 11.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cibs/vol9/iss1/11